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"The value of the Dutch manufacturing industry."

tno-waarde van de industrie(2)

The Dutch manufacturing industry is of great importance for the Dutch economy and solving societal challenges. This is evident in the recent TNO report 'The value of the Dutch industry', which was commissioned by VNO-NCW and FME. In this report, the Dutch manufacturing industry is praised for its above-average innovativeness and productivity. This is not only important for exports, but also for addressing societal challenges. In this article, we will look at the main conclusions from the report and the role that the Dutch manufacturing industry plays in the transition towards a sustainable and innovative economy.

The value of the Dutch manufacturing industry

According to thet TNO-report, the Dutch manufacturing industry is of crucial importance for the Dutch economy. For instance, the sector accounts for 12% of GDP. Due to its strong interconnectedness with the service sector, it is estimated that the industry contributes to around 20% of our economy. Additionally, the manufacturing industry is growing at an average rate of 2.1% per year, while the economy as a whole grows at a rate of 1.5% per year. This demonstrates that the manufacturing industry is an important engine for economic growth and employment in the Netherlands.


Crucial for societal challenges.

In addition to the economic value of the manufacturing industry, the sector also plays an important role in addressing societal challenges. For example, the production of plastics for electric cars and buses, machinery for the food processing industry, and steel for offshore wind turbines. The report shows that the Dutch manufacturing industry is very strong and carries the weight of R&D investments in the Netherlands. The resulting innovation is crucial for the global competitiveness of the Netherlands.

Investments in innovation and a level playing field in Europe

Although the Dutch manufacturing industry has a strong position, this role in societal transitions is not automatic. The Netherlands does not meet the objectives for innovation and R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP. This brings the risk of deindustrialization, which has negative consequences for the Dutch economy. Countries around us make more use of the space they get from Brussels to invest, which greatly disadvantages our industry. Therefore, FME advocates for more investment in innovation and a level playing field in Europe.

Solutions for the future

The report emphasizes that the Netherlands has a strong manufacturing industry with great SMEs that play an important role in solving societal challenges. However, steps are needed to maintain and strengthen this role. For example, more investment is needed in innovation and R&D. Companies need to be encouraged to innovate and collaborate with knowledge institutions and other companies in the chain. The government must also provide more support for obtaining financing for innovation projects, and there must be more attention to education and attracting young talent.

It is also important to create a level playing field in Europe so that Dutch companies are not disadvantaged compared to companies from other countries. This requires a European industrial policy that focuses on strengthening the European manufacturing industry and promoting innovation and sustainability.


The Dutch manufacturing industry plays a crucial role in addressing societal challenges and stimulating economic growth and employment. The recent TNO report shows that the sector is above average in terms of innovation and productivity, and there is still a lot of potential for further growth and innovation. To realize this potential, steps are needed in terms of investment in innovation, collaboration between companies and knowledge institutions, and creating a level playing field in Europe. With the right approach, the Dutch manufacturing industry can make an important contribution to a sustainable and innovative economy.


Read TNO-report (TNO)


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